Stillman Creek (Illinois)

Stillman Creek, also known during different eras as Mud Creek, Old Man's Creek, Sycamore Creek, and Stillman's Run, is part of the Rock River watershed, and located in Ogle County, Illinois, United States. The stream was named for Isaiah Stillman, who also lent his name to the village of Stillman Valley, Illinois, which lies along the creek.

Stillman Creek
Stillman Creek Flood, Illinois 15
Stillman Creek during the 2007 Midwest flooding
Stillman Creek (Illinois) is located in Illinois
Stillman Creek (Illinois)
Location of the Mouth of Stillman Creek in Ogle County, Illinois
EtymologyIsaiah Stillman, Battle of Stillman's Run
CountryUnited States
Physical characteristics
Sourcenear the unincorporated community of Kings
 - locationWhite Rock Township, Ogle County, Illinois
 - coordinates42°01′40″N 89°06′20″W / 42.02778°N 89.10556°W[1]
 - elevation679 ft (207 m)[1]
MouthRock River
 - location
Stillman Valley, in Marion Township, Ogle County, Illinois
 - coordinates
42°07′34″N 89°13′51″W / 42.12611°N 89.23083°WCoordinates: 42°07′34″N 89°13′51″W / 42.12611°N 89.23083°W[1]


Stillman Creek originates near Kings, Illinois and continues its course through Ogle County until it reaches the Rock River at its mouth.[1][2] The creek is 18.0 miles (29.0 km) long.[3]

Natural history

Before the Rock River country was settled, which includes the area surrounding Stillman Creek, 35% of the land was covered with prairie; as of 2000 there were 48 acres (190,000 m2) of pre-settlement prairie remaining within the Rock River basin.[4] The land surrounding the Rock River and its tributaries is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. Found throughout the Rock River country 122 species of native birds, 33 species of reptiles, 78 species of mammals, 33 species of native mussel and 10 species of native crustaceans.[4] Of the 950 plant taxa found in the river country, 27 are ferns species.[4] In total, 56 species of Illinois endangered or threatened species make their habitat within Rock River country.[5]


The creek was the site of the 1832 Battle of Stillman's Run during the Black Hawk War. The battle and the creek became humorously known as "Stillman's Run" after Stillman and his men fled the battlefield in defeat, believing they were being chased by thousands of Chief Black Hawk's warriors.[6][7] The use of the word "run" was a double entendre describing both the creek and Stillman's "tactics" during the battle.[7] It has been known by other names as well, those include, Mud Creek, Old Man's Creek, and Sycamore Creek.[1][6] The stream's current name, Stillman Creek, descended from Isaiah Stillman, who also lent his name to the village of Stillman Valley (via the creek), along the creek, in Ogle County.[8] A 1999 water quality assessment by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency rated Stillman's Creek as "good," along with about 78% of the rest of the water ways found in the Rock River watershed.[2] In modern times, the village of Stillman Valley has been authorized to discharge treated wastewater into the creek.[9] During the 2007 Midwest flooding the creek poured over its banks.


Stillman Creek's elevation is 679 feet (207.0 m) above sea level and it is part of the Rock River watershed.[1][10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Stillman Creek". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. January 15, 1980. Retrieved 2006-07-26.
  2. ^ a b "Rock River Watershed," (PDF), The Condition of Illinois Water Resources 1999, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed May 13, 2011
  4. ^ a b c "The Rock River Country," At a glance." Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  5. ^ "The Rock River Country," p. 3. Retrieved 14 August 2007
  6. ^ a b "Battle of Sycamore Creek Archived 2007-10-17 at the Wayback Machine, Abraham Lincoln Digitization Project, Northern Illinois University. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  7. ^ a b Matile, Roger. "Maj. Stillman’s run: advancing to the rear," Ledger-Sentinel (Oswego, Illinois), 24 May 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  8. ^ "History of Stillman Valley," Village of Stillman Valley, official site. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  9. ^ "NPDES Permit No. IL0031275, (PDF), Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Water Pollution Control, 19 May 2006.
  10. ^ Sinclair, Robert A. "Rock River Basin: Historical Background, IEPA Targeted Watersheds, and Resource Rich Areas," (PDF), Illinois State Water Survey, April 2006, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, p. 8. Retrieved 14 August 2007.


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